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The last time we featured Pinterest, it was for something they'd subtracted: no more weight loss ads. Now, the platform has added a feature to create a more inclusive experience: when searching for hairstyles, users can narrow down the results to match a specific hair texture. Searches can be refined by six different patterns: protective, coily, curly, wavy, straight and shaved/bald.
The feature was created with Black, Brown and Latinx people in mind, and uses computer vision-powered object detection to scan images for hair texture — over 500 million so far.
Hair pattern search is first being introduced in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and will be rolling internationally over the coming months.
Beauty is one of the largest categories on Pinterest, used by millions of people every month to find inspiration for new styles and fresh looks. And every one of those people should be able to feel represented by the images fed to them by all-knowing algorithms. Pinterest's new search functionality demonstrates how many small but important steps brands (still) need to take for products that reach and reflect us all.
As Naeemah LaFond — hair stylist, Global Artistic Director of Amika and advisor to Pinterest — explains: “This new tool will mark a much needed milestone for racial equity in the world of coding. Just the simple idea that I don’t have to work twice as hard to find a hairstyle because of my hair type is a game changer."